The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: LENOX Industrial Tools 301 by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday June 30, 2008

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The Key Moment: A Biblical downpour bought the sedate proceedings at New Hampshire to a mercifully quick ending, with Kurt Busch emerging as the winner in a high paying game of musical chairs.

In a Nutshell: A wholly unsatisfying ending to a wholly unsatisfying race.

Dramatic Moment: There was a brief period of racing between Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson for the lead as threatening weather moved in. Other than that, the race was a total and complete farce.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

When defending their home track, native New Englanders have always been able to cite a series of sellouts for the Cup races, dating back to the track’s debut in the series. Well, that argument is off the table now. Despite the track’s announced sellout, there were vast sections of vacant seats in the stands. So, let me ask again: why did we give up North Wilkesboro for this mess?

Passing was so tough at NHMS, some drivers let their tempers meltdown late in the race. Welcome to NASCAR’s Summer of Shove.

So, how long can NASCAR keep a stiff upper lip and refuse to alter the new car if the racing remains this relentlessly putrid? Seriously, watching Sunday’s race was about as entertaining as sitting on a splintery bench, drinking warm beer and watching an old Chevy truck rust. Will the last fan out of NHMS please turn off the lights?

Are these two fans at New Hampshire sneaking out through the tunnel so their friends and family don’t realize they wasted their hard earned money going to this “race?”

No, I am reasonably certain that race winner Kurt Busch doesn’t actually plan to spend the next few races adding to his points deficit.

While there wasn’t much racing for the lead, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya battled neck and neck for the biggest bonehead of the afternoon honors. A lot of folks celebrated Montoya’s honest admission his acts were intentional. I figure a 100 point penalty and a hundred thousand dollar fine later this week ought to cure him of that honesty next time.

Could Tony Stewart really be considering a move to take over Rick Hendrick’s No. 5 car next season? The problem with four roosters in a henhouse is there’s no room left for anyone to lay an egg. Meanwhile, Stewart once again vented his ire at the press for asking questions about his future. The late Dale Earnhardt might have told Stewart you don’t have to worry until people stop discussing your future plans.

For those of you keeping score, Tony Stewart’s win at NHMS in the Nationwide Series was the twelfth victory by a Toyota driver in that series’ eighteen races run to date. It seems right now the Camrys are making a parody of parity.

If I were a race fan in New England, I’d be mighty worried about new NHMS track owner Bruton Smith’s low profile at the track this weekend. If Smith planned to reconfigure the track, it would be done by now. My guess is NHMS is now on life support as a potential date donor for other SMI properties. Smith stated otherwise over the weekend, but he seemed to be damning the place with faint praise and the mercurial Smith has been known to change his mind like…well, um…the weather.

Great moments in Broadcasting 101: As NASCAR battles allegations of racial insensitivity, you have to love Larry McReynolds discussing Harry Gant’s not having a “Chinaman’s chance” in a race. But give Gant style points for a truly awesome collection of cars.

Madison Avenue has never really gotten their arms around who NASCAR fans really are, but I guess I liked it better when race broadcasts featured more ads for beer than boner pills.

Was that a question Ralph Sheheen put to Tony Stewart after the race — or a monologue?

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

My heart bleeds for any fan who paid for a ticket and a tank full of four dollar a gallon gasoline to watch that mess of a race.

Tony Stewart dominated the event, but once again found a way to drag defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. seemed en route to yet another Top 10 finish when he got run over from behind trying to enter the pits. Jack Roush might want to revisit the idea of having Jamie McMurray sample his sponsor’s product at the wheel.

Kasey Kahne was victimized by a retaliatory bump, and all he has to show for it is a really crummy cartoon depiction of the incident.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Not only did the rain hand Kurt Busch an unexpected victory, it came just in time to keep him from getting black-flagged when brake cooling components began shedding from beneath the No. 2 car.

Michael Waltrip accepting the second place check might be the best deal ever struck since the Louisiana Purchase.

Robby Gordon is extremely lucky this week’s Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment doesn’t allow Cup drivers to pack handguns in their cars. For a perpetually laps down car, Gordon sure does seem to like battling the leaders as if he’s contending for a win every week.

Yeah, he’s been pretty laid back and diplomatic about his contract status, but you just know Casey Mears had to be delighted to post the best finish of any Rick Hendrick team driver (7th) the same weekend it was announced he won’t be back with them next year.

In a race dominated by Toyotas and Chevys, Dodge managed to get four drivers in the Top 10 in the final rundown.

Worth Noting

  • The Top 10 finishers at New Hampshire drove four Dodges, three Chevys, and three Toyotas. The top finishing Ford was Carl Edwards in 17th.
  • It was another tough outing for the rookies, with Aric Almirola in 23rd the top finishing member of the freshman class (and he’s not even running for Rookie Of The Year).
  • For Kurt Busch, it was his first win since Michigan last August and his first Top 5 result since this year’s Daytona 500.
  • Michael Waltrip (second) backed into his first Top 5 finish since Phoenix in April of 2005. Are they laughing at me? I think they’re laughing at me.
  • J.J. Yeley (third) enjoyed the second best finish of his Cup career.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (fourth) had his best finish of the 2008 Cup season.
  • Reed Sorenson (sixth) enjoyed his best finish since the Daytona 500.
  • Casey Mears finished seventh for the third time this season.
  • Jimmie Johnson (ninth) managed his fourth Top 10 finish in the last five races.
  • Bobby Labonte (tenth) scored his first Top 10 finish since Bristol last August.
  • Jeff Gordon (11th) has failed to post a Top 10 finish in three of the last four Cup
  • Jeff Burton (12th) has missed the Top 10 his last three times out.
  • Kevin Harvick (14th) hasn’t scored a Top 10 finish since Richmond.
  • Joe Nemechek (20th) cracked the Top 20 for the first time this season. Ouch!
  • Kasey Kahne (30th) has been maddeningly inconsistent as of late. In the last six Cup points races he’s won twice, finished second in a third race, and finished outside the Top 30 in the other three.

What’s the Points?

Despite a substandard afternoon, Kyle Busch continued atop the points heap, now 64 ahead of second place Jeff Burton. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Edwards, Johnson, and Gordon held serve in points positions three through six.

Behind them, Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle swapped seventh and eighth places in the standings, with Hamlin now having the advantage.

If there was a silver lining around those storm clouds for Tony Stewart, it is that he moved up two spots in the standings to ninth. Kahne and Bowyer each fell a spot to tenth and eleventh, respectively.

Kevin Harvick re-entered the Top 12, displacing Matt Kenseth to 13th. Kenseth now trails Harvick by 15 points for that final spot in the Chase.

On the outside looking in, this New Hampshire win moved Kurt Busch up four spots in the standings to 18th — but he’s still a formidable 222 points out of the Top 12.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one a half cup of rain water in a dented can, left by the proverbial barefoot girl on the hood of a Dodge drinking beer in the soft summer rain.

Next Up: The contrived excitement of plate racing at Daytona kicks in next Saturday night, another reminder these blasted new cars failed in one of their prime design goals of returning unrestricted racing to the plate tracks.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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06/30/2008 07:13 AM

I think any reaction to the “Chinaman’s chance” comment may be a tempest in a teapot. I’m usually pretty sensitive about these things, especially as slurs against Asians go; but the historical source of this actually speaks well for the Chinese immigrants, and poorly about those who worked rather hard to deny them said chances. I don’t think every phrase containing a racial reference has to be racist.

Aside from that… glad I spent the weekend playing games and spending time with the family instead of watching this race.

06/30/2008 07:42 AM

Matt, the only difference between Montoya and oh, say, Matt Kenseth is Montoya just said I hit him. If I were Montoya, I’d say my English is choppy what I meant to say was I need to see the replay.

06/30/2008 07:53 AM

QUOTE: “if the racing remains this relentlessly putrid”?

Absolute GREAT choice of words!

Oh, and by the way, please lay off Robby Gordon or any other driver that battles ANY car on the track. If you were precariously close to the magic #35 Owners points number, you would drive Granny off a cliff to stay within those boundaries!

It’s a NA$CAR thing you know! They made the rules!

OH! OH! there I go again, mentioning rules and NA$CAR in the very same sentence! Guess I just don’t learn very well!

And while I had a bit of time Sunday afternoon with my chores completed, I watched a baseball game, well, part of one anyway, more than this sicko of a race! Now, come to think about that, just what was that they broadcast from NHMS? Sure wasn’t a “race” as per definition! And the baseball game had way more excitement!

06/30/2008 08:01 AM

If anyone other than a writer watched that mess more than a few minutes, they have my complete sympathy. Obviously a life is in order.

Scott Corbitt
06/30/2008 08:06 AM

If Robby had been able to stay in front of Kurt Busch he would have moved up under the last caution just like Mikey and JJ. It very well could have been a battle for the life of his race team…I have no problem with it.

06/30/2008 08:10 AM

I guess we just may have had more excitement in racing the thunder storm to get back to dock in Sodus Bay. Hang in there Tony!! It has to get better. Mayhaps even the racing will eventually get better?!?!?!?

06/30/2008 08:29 AM

Gee, the great, non-credentialed internet hack slamming a race in NH. What a shocker!

Hey, Matt…the only thing that comes as a surprise is why you continue to sit in your Mom’s basement and write this column every week.

You obviously can’t stand anything about the current configuration of the sport, so why don’t you just quit?

North Wilkesboro? Give me a break. Maybe we could add a Wednesday race in some of the state fairgrounds as well!

To paraphrase Rick Pitino when he was coaching the Celtics and someone was lamenting the absence of Bird, Parrish and McHale, “Alan Kulwicki, Davey and Dale Sr. ain’t walking through that door anytime soon”.

If you insist on writing this crap every week, how about some truth in advertising, and renaming the column “Living in the Past”?

06/30/2008 08:46 AM

Gee’s! Some guy’s (Jim as an example) just cannot seem to see things clearly!

Brian loves you Jim! Keep sending him your money! Actually you can save gas just by sending a check to Brian @ International Speedway Blvd.! Of course that assumes you ACTUALLY attend NA$CAR events!

Mike In NH
06/30/2008 08:47 AM

I almost skipped today’s column because I knew what was coming – yet another chance to slam NH from someone who can’t stand the fact that the track sells out more and has more dates than his faves do – but what the heck, I tuned in and wasn’t disappointed. At least I can’t damn him for being inconsistent. :)

Bruton Smith wasn’t damning with faint praise, he said straight out – in a HIGH PROFILE press conference that was classic Bruton Smith – that both races are staying. Period. He said flat out that dates for KY and LV are coming from elsewhere. And that he won’t be temporarily moving a NH race for construction, either. So get over it, NHMS is here to stay – that is, unless the NIMBYs in Loudon won’t let him improve the track, a definite possibility, and then I wouldn’t blame him for pulling up stakes.

Lights three weekends a year – is that too much to ask from a company that pays a ton of tax dollars to the town, not to mention brings all sorts of benefits economically?

Funny, from TV, I didn’t see a lot of empty seats, unless it was at the beginning before the race got underway. But I guess ya see what ya wanna see. ;)

Was the race on Sunday boring? Yeah, I think it was, mostly. Do I blame the track? Partially, but this is far from the only facility where people have complained about boring racing of late. I think the new car needs tweaking still, which is not surprising, since its a new platform and new platforms always need a year or two to settle in. Contrast it with Friday’s Camping World East race, which had more than half a dozen guys challenging for the lead and swapping the first six to eight spots constantly over the last 30 laps or so. In Nationwide it wasn’t too exciting at the front because of the JGR (and satellite) dominance, but that’s been the case all year with the other tracks, too.

If they want to reconfigure Loudon, that’s fine by me – it’s his track, he can do what he wants with it. But I’m not going to be thrilled if it turns into yet another cookie-cutter tri-oval.

06/30/2008 08:51 AM

Matt – I was there yesterday and much of what you say is accurate. There were lots of seats empty (we had seats on both sides of us in the first turn open) – so I guess that the event was a sellout, but not fully attended! The parking lots were noticeably less crowded, and I think I’m charitable in saying there were about 2/3 the normal number of souvenir trailers there. We planned to start leaving at lap 260~270 to beat traffic – and it turns out, to beat the rain too. At lap 230, it appeared that we weren’t the only ones with this idea!

I enjoyed spending the day at the races with my son, and my friend and his son. The racing wasn’t the best – but, we had a good time together. If I had gone by myself, I would have been tremendously bored with the on track product. It took 25~30 laps for the second place car to chase down the leader (in clean air) and make a pass if the car would run a different line. Not a lot of movement up front under green.

BTW, it was funny to hear Mike Helton address the crowd, and thank them for spending their entertainment dollars at a NASCAR race. It was the same kind of ‘thank you’ speech the pilot gives you as the plane is landing…

06/30/2008 08:52 AM

I taped the race, so I was able to watch it in an hour and a half. Thank God. Nothing against Loudon fans but this track just bites. No one could pass all dang day.

06/30/2008 09:05 AM

I noticed only two people blindly defending Loudon… There hasn’t been a good race there in forever. And yes it IS the track. Well, and the “Car of Tomorrow” sucking so bad, but it sucked even when the old car was on it. It’s a poorly designed track that has just become more and more crappy with each tweak or redesign. This has nothing to do with Matt’s “hate” or Matt’s “living in the past,” racing in New Hampshire is CRAP. I’m all for Loudon staying on the schedule—if they entire track is demolished and replaced with something useful.

Then again, if they move the race from here to Yet Another Boring-Ass Cookie Cutter Oval, will it be any better? :(

06/30/2008 09:08 AM

Something is going to have to be done with not only these glorified taxi cabs but these follow the leader, flat, one groove race tracks. It seems so apparent the hardest ticket is at Bristol and yet why no one has tried to build another high bank 1/2 mile is kind of a puzzler. Now I guess with the ever burdening gas prices it somehow seems fitting we are treated to these fuel mileage dandies everyone will start bring calculators to the races and leave you libations at home, not sense in falling asleep too early.

Travis Rassat
06/30/2008 09:29 AM

I honestly hope that NASCAR doesn’t penalize Juan Pablo Montoya. He was honest, he did what he said he did, and NASCAR said at the beginning of the year that they aren’t going to censor the drivers (unless they are complaining about the new car, apparently).

In this case, I guess it might be reasonable that they would penalize him since he used his car to make his point, but I hope they just let it slide and let JPM and Kyle have a little bit of a rivalry.

One last thought – I find it pretty ironic that this 301 mile race that “goes the extra mile” ended up rain-shortened. Whoops…

06/30/2008 09:31 AM

“While there wasn’t much racing for the lead, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya battled neck and neck for the biggest bonehead of the afternoon honors.”

Matt, I’d give it to McMurray, and not just for breaking NASCAR’s Prime Directive (“Thou Shalt Not Wreck Junior”). Until Whine Pablum pulls a stunt like he did at the start of the 2006 USGP (A massive pile-up that knocked out eight cars), he’s really not living up to his true potential as a motorized menace.

Just noticin'
06/30/2008 09:48 AM

Not that I am nit-pickin’, but wasn’t David Ragan a rookie last year?

06/30/2008 09:50 AM

I don’t know who it is kissin’ that blond in the photo, but whomever it is —- their mask is wrinkled.

Kurt Busch and the Rain Man, one in the same?

06/30/2008 09:57 AM

This is why, as a TV viewer, Loudon is my least favorite track on the current cup circuit.

Those who blame the car for that race are barking waaay up the wrong tree. That race looked just like every other race at the track in recent memory.

(I am by no means campagning to have NH’s dates redistributed…but I would happily have that track reconfigured into something that promotes better racing. Just imagine what a draw that place would be with a Bristol or Richmond cloned-configuration.)

Good job by Carpentier, proving that his car actually was fast…well, till the brakes started failing about halfway thru the race. :)

06/30/2008 10:04 AM

Before moaning about tracks that are difficult to pass on some more, consider the alternative. Find me a racetrack with two equally fast grooves that anyone can race in that don’t interfere with each other, and I’ll show you a parade long enough to bore even the most diehard fans. The faster cars will quickly pass the slower and the last 75% of the race will be a snoozefest unless it comes down to fuel mileage.

Great racing comes from the difficulty in passing, when two drivers are forced to drive outside the optimal line and see who is better at it.

I blame TNT for cutting away from the good battles on track to bore us with more silly statistics about the leader who was perpetually pulling away. They present a boring race and that’s what we’re going to see.

06/30/2008 10:19 AM

Hey, Matt…the only thing that comes as a surprise is why you continue to sit in your Mom’s basement and write this column every week.

Wht with Mom having paased on a year ago this week, I haven’t been in her basement a lot lately

06/30/2008 10:21 AM

I’d sure like to see Iowa Speedway in Newton Iowa get a date. 7/8 mile oval with progressive banking. You gotta have progressive banking now a days with the cars being so equal. The old cars sucked at NH also so I believe you need progressive banking.

06/30/2008 10:32 AM

They may have progressive banking at NH already (4 degrees)so I say make it more. How do they determine what it should be?

SS Mike
06/30/2008 10:45 AM

I can’t believe people watch a race at New Hampster, let alone pay good money to attend a race there.

There is a track that allows side by side racing. It has progressive banking. It’s in California and is called Irwindale. But NA$CAR does not own it so it will never get a date.

06/30/2008 11:03 AM

I really think that Dale Earnhardt Jr needs to share the bonehead award with Jamie McMurray. After all, he did decide to pit at the spur of the moment with no signal on the race track. It wasn’t all Jamie McMurray. Yes, Jamie’s spotter should have been on top of it as well, which I question many times, but Junior is just as much at fault as McMurray.

Carl D.
06/30/2008 11:11 AM

After napping during the middle part of yesterday’s race (I tried to stay awake, but something about the race made me drowsy), I went out and mowed the lawn. The John Deere folks gave me a really good mower, and my blade was just awesome yesterday. Unlike the NH track, there were multiple grooves in my lawn, but I wasn’t passed once.

Now, for those of you who enjoyed the race in NH yesterday, I’d like to inform you that tickets to my next lawn mowing, currently scheduled for July 12, are $40, general admission.

Mike The Insane One
06/30/2008 11:17 AM

If you think Bruton won’t jerk a date from Loudon, you better be thinking long and hard about that. He’s about as trustworthy as the Frances. But at least he treats the fans decent at most of his tracks.

The only difference between the Fox and TNT coverage is we don’t have to listen to DW cheerleading. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like had DW been in the booth with his brother in second?

Ken Smith
06/30/2008 11:17 AM

I think Mike in NH either needs a new TV, or needs to get his eyes examined, if he didn’t see a lot of empty seats on TV!! It looked like about every other seat was empty !!

Managing Editor
06/30/2008 11:19 AM

Hey Just Noticin’,

That little error has been corrected … thanks for pointing it out and reading Matt’s columns!

06/30/2008 11:21 AM

Carl D,

Psst, your crew, you forgot to thank your crew!

Also, if I want to buy tickets to your next lawn mowing, do I have to buy tickets to watch you trim the hedges and use the weed-wacker too? Or can I just buy a ticket to watch you mow the lawn?


06/30/2008 11:32 AM

I didn’t watch the race. Instead…I had the scanner on in the background as I sorted through my kids’ books that I’m donating to our local domestic abuse shelter.

Judging from Matt’s column today, I am certain I made the better choice.

To Carl D. —> Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…good one!

hank lee
06/30/2008 11:40 AM

I actually enjoyed the race. loudon is a neat track, and that place is the home of racing in the Northeast. I guess we should quit going to Daytona when the drivers race single file. And Texas, Atlanta, Vegas, California, and Michigan too. At least they could actually race yesterday, but tv never showed it, just watched the leader all day and talked about weather.

Carl D.
06/30/2008 11:49 AM


I used to have a crew and a driver. They grew up, moved out, and now they only call me when they need something.

Your $40 covers all events, but if you sit in the infield (my driveway), you’ll have to buy your ice from me, $5/bag. It’s a Bruton thing.

Jeff G
06/30/2008 12:04 PM

Hey “Mike The Insane”, I agree complety! I live in the Charlotte area and I have met people that know Bruton. NH IS going to lose a race. It’s just a matter of time.

Jim, You may be right about Matt and no credentials. That’s only because NASCAR is SO AFRAID of him. They actually bought another web site just to fire him from it!! I guess they don’t care about the First Amemdment in the Constitution of the United States. (By the way, seems all the drivers have really shut up about the COT…???)

Matt, keep up the great work. Be careful though. You never know, Brian, and that guy that looks like a caveman, (I think his name is Mike the puppet) may decide to try and buy out this site….lol..

06/30/2008 12:09 PM

HeY Carl D ——
just a suggestion,……
bag that grass
and sell it as souvenirs.

Mike In NH
06/30/2008 12:49 PM

Ken Smith, I wear contacts. 20/20 vision, thank you very much. But your concern for my eyesight is appreciated. ;) As I said elsewhere, I may have been paying too much attention to the race and not enough on the stands. Go figure.

Mike The Insane One
06/30/2008 02:53 PM

Hey Jeff G, I know several folks who have had dealings with Bruton every since he stole the speedway out from under Curtis Turner. If you ever shake hands with Bruton, check your jewelry afterwards.

Even if the race was a sell-out, the empty seats don’t look good on TV and you can bet that’ll be all the justification needed to move a date. He & Bahre bought North Wilkesboro, shut it down, and moved it’s dates. Burton bought Rockingham, shut it down and moved the date. If anyone thinks he won’t do it to Loudon, you better think again.

06/30/2008 03:13 PM

Actually counting the EMPTY seats at NHMS was far more interesting and absorbing that watching the cars on the track!

Or maybe it is like that old saying “I am beating my head against the wall because it feels so good when I stop”!

Kinda like watching a NA$CAR race!

06/30/2008 03:37 PM

How come Kurt and his team get credit for a good move that paid off but Michael Waltrip “just backed into his second place finish” when he and his team used the same strategy?

06/30/2008 03:45 PM

Your right nobody can pass at NH. In fact faster cars and better drivers in the back half of the 40+ could not make it towards the front till the pit stops at lap 74 or the first caution at 86.

Oh but wait, they did. All over the place, like #20 from 28th to 18. #31 from 31 to 22. #48 from 23 to 16.

You only see the race they let you see.

Quit crying you crackers about your podunk closed tracks you could not fill.

We don’t bitch about the textile and furniture jobs you took from us last century like you idiots whine about your dead tracks.

Of course now those jobs went to China so you have to whine about something.

Jeff G
06/30/2008 05:09 PM

Wow! I think this Dennis needs to go to a Doctor.

He seems to have real anger problems.

Racing and race tracks seem to be the least of his problems.

This is a fun place to interact with other race fans. Even if we disagree on stuff, we still know we are all fellow race fans.

We love to complain, support our favorite driver, and “poke” at each other.

I think heavy name calling, and such a show of anger takes it a little too far.

06/30/2008 06:10 PM

Jeff doth protest too much.

King of the personal snide and calling of names.

you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye

06/30/2008 06:19 PM

Whinin’ is Whinin’
And a rose is a rose.
Ya reckon.

Cheese & Whine
Apples & Oranges.
Exactly the same
only different.

Jeff G
06/30/2008 09:00 PM

Get a life. Words like “crackers”, “podunk”, and “idiots” tell us all who you are as a person.

Sorry, but your eloquent words in your last post cannot mask what you said or who you are.

Again, this site is about racing, not about jobs, or why so many people in both the north and south have lost them in the industries you mentioned.

Get over it. As you pointed out. We have a lot bigger problems than NASCAR racing.

06/30/2008 09:15 PM


I invite you to go back and reread what i wrote. If there’s anywhere I implied that the 2 team won the race with stragecial brilliance or even superior metoeorolgy I’m not seeing it. I think what I said is Kurt won a high paying game of musical chairs. He didn’t have a race winning car but he won the race. That happens time to time.


06/30/2008 10:07 PM

Quit worrying about NHMS.
If they use the same timetable for rebuilding this track as they did after killing two drivers, and their solution was restrictor plates for one race that Jeff Burton won wire to wire (thrilling), it will be a long time before anything big happens. Best thing that could happen is ole Bruton moving both dates. If you snooze, you lose, and NHMS has been a snoozer for far to long. And Jim, I’ve seen far better racing at the “fairgrounds” than ever seen at NHMS>

07/01/2008 12:30 AM

Internet hack? You can’t be talking about Matt McLaughlin.
If you have read any of his posts from even the Racing One days you cannot say he is a hack. He knows more about NASCAR than you will ever know.
What was false about his race report? The track had a @#$&load of empty seats. I saw the empty seats at several times during the race, not just when the rain came down at the end.

Hell, I’m not that old, was a Bill Elliot fan and now a Kurt Busch fan. I respect Matt’s opinions. He’s not living in the past. He just sees the same future of NASCAR as a lot of us do. The empty seats this year are not a fluke. I am missing my traditional Bristol night race because of ticket and gas prices and (the real reason) the racing isn’t worth a $650 weekend.


tim nelson
07/01/2008 12:52 AM

If they know it is going to rain why do they not start the race earlier like they do in baseball and golf most of the peolpe are already there tailgating

Michael T.
07/01/2008 02:39 AM

I find it interesting that Matt complains about the lack of racing or excitement during the racing, then chastises Robby Gordon for actually racing. Would you prefer he just fall in line like everybody else so that way he doesn’t ruin your cut and paste rant you have prewritten for NHMS?

Also, for the NHMS fans that read this article expecting the usual track bashing from Matt, at least you got an article. For Infineon he just took his ball and went home. Why do you hate road courses so much, Matt? Did the Almighty Tim Richmond speak ill of them back in 1985?

Mike In NH
07/01/2008 07:34 AM

Actually, in NASCAR, it’s not “you snooze, you lose”. It’s “you don’t sell enough tickets, you lose.” So for now, NHMS is fine. If they renovate the track and make the racing better, than it’ll take away the prime argument that everyone seems to have about this track, and you’ll have to look for some other reason to pull races.

In an article today on the website Jerry Gappens acknowledged that there were empty corporate blocks of seats due to no-shows, he thought it might be the weather (but maybe not, who knows) – in other words, tickets were sold, but not used. So it still counts as a sellout. RV numbers were down 10% as well.

Wolfman NH
07/01/2008 10:09 AM

1-North Wilkesboro did not lose a race for this, it lost a race for the September race at NH, the other to Texas. And the term “lose” isn’t correct either, they were bought out. Remember when April was short track month (Bristol, North Wilks, & Martinsville)? Must have been Rusty’s favorite month.

2-It can rain at any track, you can’t blame NH for that.

As for anything else, I wish I could defend my local track better. It isn’t for lack of effort, the turns have been widened and repaved more than the Big Dig. The fault lies in the banking which was set when the owners believed Indy cars would be the big draw.

To change the banking they either have to lower the inside or raise the outside of the track. Lowering would be 100% of the track, pits, & maybe tunnel. Raising the outside means selling more “obstructed view” seats than Fenway Park and the original Boston Garden combined because the bottom row of seating is about the height of the current outside wall.

Any talk of reconfiguring the shape of the track like Atlanta did is just silly. The front stretch is locked by the stands & the highway, the back stretch is locked by a hill and VIP’$ camping, plus it would destroy the road course eliminating the motorcycle classic (Bike week is the other big money maker up here).

Last time I went to Loudon it was to see the Super Modifieds. These guys will run 3 wide anywhere at that track. It’s the best racing at NHMS by far. Can something be learned from these guys and passed to the Cup series?

07/01/2008 02:11 PM

Chiming in a bit late here, but I just got back home from the track.

The race was NOT boring – unless you were just focused on who was in the lead. There was a lot of good racing going on back in the pack.

Blame the television coverage for a boring presentation. I was there, and it was actually a very good race.

07/02/2008 11:15 AM

Wolfman said: Raising the outside means selling more “obstructed view” seats than Fenway Park and the original Boston Garden.

Nothing will have more obstructed view seats than that!

I don’t think you’d have too much of a problem with that. Keep the current shape, raise the outside of the track in the corners to get a 15~18 degree banking. Not sure how many feet up that would be… The banking does NOT need to be 25 degrees.

I think they cannot go lower on the inside – remember, the infield was once all wetlands. I’m sure the water table isn’t far under the tunnel roadway.